tv Face the Nation CBS December 3, 2012 2:00am-2:30am PST
magazine, and john dickerson is our man for all seasons, our political director and he is here to talk about the politics of all this. there are politics involved. ( laughter ). >> reporter: apparently, just amazing. >> schieffer: maya, you have been one of the go-to people in washington on this, in terms of crunching numbers and figuring out the impact of these proposals. you talk to us and help us understand it. tell us a little about this organization, your organization "campaign to fix the debt." what exactly are you trying to do? >> well, the campaign to fix the debt was really born out of some of the issues surrounding issues of the debt ceiling. people around the country became painfully aware the divisions in washington are may be so large we will harm our economy and harm our problem as they fail to solve problems and work these things out. over the past year, we have been joined by 300,000 saturdays, 100
of the leading ceoas, and small businesses who have said we need fix the debt, that we know. but we wanted to create a different kind of campaign where we come to washington, and while you have so many folks on side saying, "don't touch this. don't touch this. take this off the table." suddenly you're left with nothing on the table to fick the problem. we wanted to create a broad-based bipartisan group to work with members of congress to come up way deal. over the past week, we met with over 50 members of congress. we had very productive meetings with both the white house and the republican leadership basically saying we know we need a plan that will be big enough to fix the problem and biexprs balanced, and we want to help you come to that-- >> schieffer: let me just talk to you, mark zandi. you're our economic forecasters. ent to just go back to the beginning to try to help people understand this. how did this come about? and what happens if they don't reach some kind of deal by the end of the year?
>> well, this is almost by design. i mean, policy makers designed the tax cuts to expire. they had spending cuts that were set to kick in. it all came together on january 1, 2013. to a large degree it was by design. the pressure of this generated a desert shield and that's the hooker. >> schieffer: but nobody thought either the white house or congress would be stupid enough to let all of this happen but here we are-- >> no, no, in my view, this is sticking soscript. this is exactly the way i think everybody thought it would go. they come together january 1, 2013 aprosmed, the pressure would begin to mount, wall street would begin to get nervous, presidencies would get nervous. we see groups like maya's group form because they don't want to see us go over the cliff. this is exactly, i think, what everyone anticipated. i am not panicked in the sense at the end-- >> schieffer: you think they'll actually do something.
>> absolute, because if they don't-- >> schieffer: beyond kicking it down the road? >> absolute. if they don't address these issues, if they don't scale back the cliff and raise the debt ceiling and address long-term fiscal issues we have a huge problem on ourselves hands. i think the political star are aligned. the president has his legacy. he's a second-term president and i think he really wants to address this and i think the republicans want to address it as well. so i think we'll get it together. >> schieffer: underline for me again, what happens if they don't get a deal? number one, taxes go up for everybody. >> yeah. so the first thing that happens on january 1, everybody's tax rate-- everybody, everybody in this room, across america-- tax rates will go up >> because the bush tax cuts expire. >> because the bush-era tax cuts expire and everybody's tax rates go up. and then we have a boat load of spending cuts. as part of various deals we have a big cut to defense budget, nondefense. add up it it's 4.5% of the
nation's g.d.p. that jus evaporates. >> schieffer: what do you, will happen? >> i didn't believe we would get as close to the wire. i sit in exphurk and look from the mark's perspective. i think there were great hopes that we would do better than we have so far. i am worried we will go over the fiscal cliff, in part to have a reset. if we any over, republicans could start talking about cutting taxes on the middle class, as opposed to keeping them up on the rich. and the democrats will could potentially get a better deal. we can see this has happened in europe. when you have this kind of brinksmanship over and over and over again, and you go back and forth, markets start to get very burden they've been very volatile. and i think businesses have been holding back on investments. you can see big capital spending
by businesses in last four months has been way down, about 8%. there should be a boom going on right now. we have a construction market boom, we have an energy field that is booming. companies would be spend physician we could get over this cliff. >> schieffer: i'm hearing some liberal democrats will say let it go over the cliff. i mean, would they really do that? i mean, because what would happen, then you would have, i guess, the tax cuts would expire. but would they let these draconian cuts in, say, defense spending, where basically, the military wouldn't be able to buy gasoline for their vehicles and that kind of thing. >> i think it's a dangerous argument. now, i think the truth is if you go over the cliff for a couple weeks, no, that's not going to be a disaster to the economy if there's a deal in place, if a deal gets done quickly. but if you're on the cliff, off the cliff, and back on for weeks or months end that would have a really devastating effect not only on the economy but trust in our political system. it's worth noting a recent
harvard business school survey found most business leaders in this country see political dysfunction as the biggest impediment to growth. >> we used to walk up to the brink. now we live on the bring. this is the fourth or fifth rounds of the negotiations. what is being debated is not the central issues of taxes and spending key to both parties. but you have a president enjoying an election he just won. he is doing well in the polls. the pew foundation put out a poll and say 53% of people would blame republicans if we go over the cliff. you have republicans trying to figure out their flew place in the world. and you have these very serious issues at stake. basically, the thing to keep the eye on the ball here is the president wants republicans to agree to increase rates. in 2010, republicans were brought to office by antitax activists in the tea party. their number one issue-- don't raise rates. so the president is asking them
to do something right at the heart of their party. two-third of the republicans who were re-elected, were re-elected with big masorts-- 60%. it's okay with their constituents if we go over the cliff because they're standologist principle. so how are they going to get the-- how is the president anything to get republicans to increase rates? he's going to have to do something on entitlements that allows those republicans to say, hey, we-- sure, we agreed to increasing rates, but look at the pound of flesh we got from the president. the problem, is the president thinks he did well in this election. he thinks the country is behind him. he's not into giving a pound of flesh. they'll give something on entitlementes, but so far it's not big enough for the republicans to get vote which is why we may go over the cliff. not just liberal democrats. new gingrich, he's is not liberal-- >> here's the thing. tax rates are going up on everybody by definition by law. either the president has the upper hand on this issue. and the electorate has veted. i mean, in every speech he gave,
he addressed this issue. it came up and he said i'm going to do this. and the the electorate said okay. it would be very surprising if we don't allow tax rates-- >> schieffer: this was a very, very close election. the blue states were very blue. the red states were very red. and the battleground states were very close. are you teague to say the president thinks he has some sort of a mandate? >> not a mandate. but he wasn't election-- >> >> schieffer: he got a second chance. >> this is a a good way to address our long-term fescal issues. from an economic perspective-- forget about the politics, you sit down and do the arithmetic or math and you can't make it work unless tax rates on upper income house holds rise. >> schieffer: maya. >> what's outrageous is the way we govern is playing games of chicken and the losers losers are going to be the american public and the economy.
we know what's going to have to happen. we know revenues are going to have to go up. we know we have to reign in spend .gz we know we have to reform entitlements. we know it will be hard work, a $4 trillion plan which is what it will take, is going to be filled with things we don't like. but we also know what we're doing by going up to the bring, waiting until the last minute, and adding all this uncertainty is creating a huge cost to the economy. the cheapest form of stimulus is certainty. and we don't have any of that right now. what you see is ceos not being able to hir. small businesses not being able to invest. and households not knowing if we will have a real recovery. and basically the election is over. and what people want is to stop the fighting and to see real governing and put in place a solution. the problem is not the policy at this point. it's the politics. and we have to find a way to bring them together to get to yes on this. >> schieffer: isn't the politics and seeming inability to come to some sort of a solution to this, isn't this the
thing that poses the real danger to the economy? because investors look out there and they see this and they say, you know, i've got to keep my cards close to the vest here. i'm going to keep my money in the bank. >> absolutely. and you could argue that the u.s. could actually be benefitting right now because as rich grizz, we'r countries go, we're doing pretty well. this is still a very good place to invest. but there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty in our political process. i would say one other thing on the point of taxes. it's not just about math-- although i agree with mark's points. the bush tax increases on the upper income folks in the u.s. are about 5%. but they haveave big social impact because i think, again, you can look at europe and see what happens when you try to do austerity and don't have social cohesion and buy? and a feeling that everyone is doing their part. >> schieffer: mark. >> you know, my view is that these are really big issues we're trying to nail down here.
this is entitlement reform, medicare, med karkd social security, the tax code. it would be lard for me to believe we could come to kumbaya over these poornz it is part of the process. it is quite amazing the way the policy makers designed this. i absolutely agree. the uncertainty is a killer. it's weighing on business investments and hiring decisions. but on the other side, if we nail this down-- and i think we will-- we will be off and running. >> both sides use the uncertainty arguments, democrats and republicans both use it. which means it has a political smell to it, which mons it doesn't work with those politicians. the worry is uncertainty only works as a motivator of political behavior when it starts biting, when you start seeing the effect of uncertainty in a bigger way. we have different timelines here. we're talking about a sort of catastrophe of going over the cliff or not, or may be a deal that happens in the weeks after we go over the cliff. there's another option which is kind of a two-part deal.
they're not really getting down to these big issues yet because negotiators think they might be able to do a small issue that gets us past the cliff for a short period of time, then they have a big, long, conversation about fundamental tax reform, entitlement reform that plays out over want next year. the question is does it get you any certainty in the business community. >> here's the key. i don't think they can do a two-step deal unless we agree to long-term deficit reduction. the uncertainty will remain. that is in a sense, kicking the can down the road. and that is the worst outcome. >> here's what you can do. you can come up with an agreement on the big framework of an overall deal before want fiscal cliff. how big is the deal going to be? how much in revenues? how much are we going to do with entitlements and then it has to go through the committee of jurisdiction how to do tax reform right and health care right. you need to come up with a top line parent of the deal and make sure it's big enough to fix the
problem. one of the concerns i have is start negotiating down and down and down and not really fix the problem and there's no impetus to finish up. >> they have to scale back the cliff, the tax increases and spending cuts. the second is the debt ceiling. and the third thing is the path to fiscal sustainability, the long-term deficit reduction, tax reform, reforms to the entitlement programs that get to us a stable g.d.p. in the future. and that has to all be done at once. i don't think you can do this in parts. >> schieffer: let me ask the question which i'm sure there is no answer to, but what do you all think is most likely to happen? >> i think we're going to go over the cliff for a couple weeks, fingers crossed, we're then going to have a deal because there will be a political reset allowing both sides to be able to make nice with their caucuses and still make some progress on the issues of both begunnering more revenue and doing entitlement reform.
>> i feel like a two-part deal this includes the republicans agreeing to a rate increase but allowing them a bookdoor to explain how to get out of that in the future which gives them a way to vote for tax rate increase will be very have, hard to do. >> schieffer: you think in the end they'll do that? >> i think they'll doll some kind of two-part deal and say in the future with tax reform we'll be able to get rates down. so we're not really voting for a tax rate increase here. there will be a lot of trips to the euphemism factory where they'll find language here. the problem is with the time here is to do a big deal-- we're running out of time and no member is going to vote for a big deal because they're going to feel like there's a lot of trickery which goes back to maya's point. let it go through the committees in the future so people know what they're voting per. people are very nervous that it's a big deal and they'll be voting on stuff that will explode on them later. >> my view is we will scale back on the cliff so it is manageable economically so we'll have tax ibincreases and spending cuts
but they'll be reasonable. we'll raise the debt ceiling, and this is what i mean by a big deal. i think we'll lay a framework for the deficit reduction we're going to do in the future. we're not going to cross the "and dot the ayes, but them we'll throw it in and fig that you are out. if we do those things i think we'll solve the uncertainty issue to a significant enough degree and our economy will start to gain traction. >> schieffer: may ayou'll be last word. >> i don't think we'll go off the cliff. i think politician of both sides understand it's just not worth it to bet the country on this. i do worry as they spend the next year or six months working out the details, there is going to be such extreme pressures on both sides not to make the hard choices we know has to be part of a real keel so i think it's important there are pressures to keep on so if they don't come up with solution through the
committee there are ways to make sure we get the savings. the u.s. has the benefit of being a safe haven. we have more time than other countries but we will lose that confidence if we don't start to show our political system can function and approximately solve these problems together. >> schieffer: thank you, all. i actually learned something here. of course i always do because i don't know much. we'll be back in a minute with mike rogers, the chairman of the house intelligence commit. yes, we have reestablished contact. so we'll get his thoughts on benghazi and all the other things we were going to talk about. thank you all very much. millio.
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let's go back and talk about the benghazi business. you heard both dianne feinstein and lindsey graham say stuff happened that shouldn't have happened here and the security was not what it ought to be. what do you think went wrong? >> well, it's very clear to me, bob, that the intelligence was right about the threat in benghazi. now, they department know the specific day and the specific event, but all of the threat streams were right. what went wrong were the policy and decision makers at department of state did not make the right security call, and i argue it's gross negligence. there were discussion prior to, to consolidate space in benghazi. we had different consulates -- not consulates but other operations around town. they thought about bringing everything in one place, and they thought that place was so unsecure, they shouldn't do it. now, that decision was made prior to the 9/11 fortunate. that means that somebody was absolutely negligent in not providing the right security to
the ambassador and the employees that lost their lives that day. and somebody should be held accountability for that and we shouldn't walk away from that. >> schieffer: well-- go ahead. >> secretarily. we're three months-- nearly three months after and have not aggressively pursued individuals who killed four americans, and by the way, four tunisians who helped us guard our embassy on the 13th that was under attack two days after the 9/11 attack in benghazi. these are the two biggest problems i think you'll find moving forward we have to get answers to. >> schieffer: well, and them you go to an administration spokesman was support out, and it was susan rice, the u.n. ambassador, who had nothing tiger woods any of this-nothing to do with any of this, and she was given talking points as it were that didn't seem to jibe with what the intelligence committee knew or what the
classified versions said. i still can't get that straight in my head how that's the right thing to do. should they have not sent a spokesman out? should they have said we can't answer those questions? the whole thing just doesn't seem right to me? >> because it's not right, bob. you cannot have the intelligence reading one way-- now, it's not a crime for the president, the administration, to take a different political narrative than what the intelligence said. that's not a crime. but it certainly is irresponsible, and in many cases may have risen to the level of nigigence, because that narrative created other problems and other bad decision after the 9/11 attack. and so, it really is beyond the talking point, it's beyond rice, because it was a political narrative designed not around what the intelligence said but what they that you want the best politics were for them. that's why that got so dangerous in my mind. and why it had such a negative impact on policy decisions that happened after that, including, boy want way, bob, using u.s.
taxpayer money to buy television ads in pakistan nine days after the event, and it was very clear by then what had happened. nine days after the event to talk about that video that actually inflamed and caused tensions all across pakistan. that's why this is so important to get right and we have got to get answers. and we have to go after the people who killed four americans in benghazi, and that needs to be a focus here that i am not real comfortable about where we're at right now. >> schieffer: congressman, i'm glad we phenylly got to ge finally got to get your take on this and were able to reconnect. thank you so much for being with us. we will be back in just a minute with this week's "face the nation" flashback. ,,,,,,,,
>> schieffer: so after a bitter and long campaign, there they were in the oval office, mitt romney and barack obama, not the first time it's happened, and that is our "face the nation" flashback. >> good luck. >> schieffer: it's become traditional for presidential winners and loseiz to get together after the election. sometimes it goes well. sometimes it doesn't. when george bush beat al gore in the bitter campaign of 2000, oit going president clinton invited bush over for a two-hour session. but bush's meeting with al devoir, the man he beat, lasted only 15 minutes. brush said he had to get back to texas for a christmas party. when richard nixon beat hubert humphrey, there was a certain
been there, done that, feeling when he invited humphrey of free to chat. >> i recall in 1960 after losing a very close election that president-elect kennedy could me when i was here in florida and history repeat itself. so i know exactly how you feel. >> thank you very much. >> schieffer: after beating bob dole in 1996, bill clinton invited dole to the white house for a ceremony honoring world war ii veterans. dole brought downtown house when he said, "i, robert j. dole..." ( laughter ) "do solemnly swear-- oops. ( laughter ) sorry, wrong speech. ( laughter ) but i had a dream... ( laughter ) that i would be here this historic week receiving something from the president. ( laughter ) but i thought it would be the front door key. ( laughter ) >> schieffer: our "face the nation" flashback.
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